Ashland XC Schooling 4.15.17

Oh man, this was not the XC schooling I had imagined. Especially not the weekend before our first recognized outing. But, ironically enough, it was the XC school I needed.

Because here’s the thing: not a single jump or line or question that LT put us over scared me. There were even higher options that LT gave us and, while I didn’t chose to do them for other reasons, I wasn’t nervous that we couldn’t get over it. I knew we could. Gus can jump any dang fence out there. But, even with knowing that and feeling confident about the fences, I became so frustrated that I couldn’t do anything but cry when things started feeling crapy.

I have been doing a lot of crying lately. That needs to stop.

Truthfully, there’s a reason behind all the crying. Life has been hard lately. Mostly due to work, I haven’t been sleeping well or a lot, I’ve been stressed, and I’m having a hard time caring about anything else. So really it wasn’t a surprise that my frustration cup hath runneth over.

The whole point of this XC lesson was to work on pace and rhythm to the fence. If you ride the pace, you’re going to have a nice jump, right? Maybe, I don’t know because I couldn’t seem to get it. No matter what I did it seemed to be a coin flip on whether or not we’d chip in or jump out of stride. All I wanted from Gus was a little help. For him to be the confident one and take me to the fence.

It didn’t happen. Not once.

Cue melt down.

That’s when LT stepped in and gave me a little bit of tough love: Gus is not that horse. He will most likely never be that horse. Like Lainey said, he’s careful and he has a sense of self preservation that you need in an event horse. But, and this is important, he is so so willing. If I put the leg on and say yes Gus goes every time.

I’ve got to learn to ride the horse I have. It means that I have to be the leader. In the long run it will make me a better rider but in the short run, things may be hard. If I want this, I have to work for it.

I won’t bore you with a breakdown of every exercise we did. LT ran us through our paces and left us on a super positive end note where we did jump out of stride and over a skinny. Skinnies are one thing that Gus does fantastically. Lots of horses at his level don’t. As brave as Dandy was, getting him to a skinny was a fight with the devil.

Sporting Days will be a real test for us but one that I think we are ready for. This kick in the pants was hard to hear but exactly what I needed. And even if I am crying in almost every single photo, I learned what I needed. Ride forward. Lead.

24 thoughts on “Ashland XC Schooling 4.15.17

  1. I read a quote at the beginning of this year that has really stuck with me: If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done. Riding is HARD and challenging in so many ways. Being an adult amateur with other responsibilities and stressors in life makes things even more difficult sometimes. But if we can dig deep and get through it, we come out on the other side even better than we ever imagined.

  2. Gus looks really good! And it sounds like you got a lot out of the ride in terms of figuring out exactly what Gus will need from you at the event. That counts for a LOT. I keep telling myself that it’s still just so early in the season, we’ve got all the time in the world to gel into our rhythm!! Good luck!

  3. I don’t think I could event on a horse that didn’t take me to the fence. I am not that brave of a rider. My old man would lock on an go and it was so much fun for me. Courage wants no part of it though, so who knows.
    I totally get the “life stuff” problems. I’m dealing with that right now and I can’t do that+show, so I’m just not. Courage is taking it easy and toodling around at home, and when I feel like getting back to it, we will. Hugs girl.

    1. Thanks! Work issues were dumped on me after my entry was already in the books so it’s kind of like a double edge sword. I want to stay late and get stuff done but I don’t have the bandwidth for it and riding and sleeping and just generally staying alive. One day at a time though, right?

  4. I thought for a long time that if Murray were just brave enough to go over the fences we wouldn’t have any problems. Psych! My horse is not that horse either. But now that he believes in me and I’m brave enough to leg him up to the fences, he will go over pretty much anything!

  5. I’m so sorry things didn’t go well- but your photos look fantastic! You two really look amazing, and you are definitely going to get better once you are confident being the “leader”

  6. You got this all day long! Gus & P sound a lot alike. It can be super challenging to ALWAYS be the leader, especially on those days when you just don’t wanna. Hugs, hope everything with work gets better, and you guys will ROCK Sporting Days!

  7. Those frustrating days where we cry and question what the hell we are doing, is the worst, in the moment. But we’ve all had them, and all need them and judging from the pics, things actually went pretty well!

  8. You guys look really good in the pictures! I hop that you have a great time, it certainly sounds like you deserve it. Best of luck to you!

    1. After I saw pictures and the video from the lesson I realized that things really hadn’t been as bad as I had thought they were. Dang perfectionist tendencies.

  9. When I first got Carmen I wanted her to help me mend my broken heart. I was still devastated about losing my other horse. But she was not that horse. She needed me to bring her out of her own stuff. In the end that actually made me a better rider and helped me to heal but there were days when I was in despair about the whole thing.
    Horses make us face ourselves. they don’t do it intentionally but it happens anyway. I’m sorry that work has been stressful it makes riding that much more difficult and you stuck through it. and man, he is one beautiful horse.

    1. Aww thanks. And yes, it’s so hard not to expect Gus to just fix everything that went wrong before with Dandy. He’s his own horse and I need to help him out too.

  10. I only wish I rode that well when I am crying!! Could have fooled me, girl. You guys look great!

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